III, 1000m, 6 - 8 hours. Much quieter than its famous neighbour (the Frendo), the Tournier Spur is still a worthwhile route and is a good choice for a single day hit. Sections of the approach and the route itself are exposed to serac fall so moving swiftly and efficiently is vital. The Tournier is often climbed in spring when snow makes most of the ground easier, but it will make the crux rock pitch harder. Early summer (when there is still a good covering of firm snow yet the crux may be dry), is probably a better option. When the route is very dry the rock sections can be quite chossy and the serac section can be black ice, so avoid it in late summer/autumn.
1) Cross the bergschrund (often tricky in late summer) and climb the 50 degree snow slope, heading towards mixed ground in a vague gully.
2) Climb the vague gully (the difficulty varies considerably according to the quantity and quality of snow - more snow is preferable provided it is firm) and step out left to lower angled mixed ground which leads to the huge rock wall that forms the upper part of the spur.
3) Make a 50m diagonal abseil from a fixed sling around a block (the abseil can be split into 2 x 25m abseils if necessary) to reach the lower part of the serac to the left of the route.
4) Climb the serac, staying as far right as possible (the angle will be anything from 65 - 80 degree ice depending on conditions) for 50m - then move into the wide snow couloir on the right. There is no getting away from the fact that climbing on, or under, seracs is dangerous so get up this section as quickly as possible.
5) Follow the snow couloir (50 to 60 degrees, with rock protection available on the left much of the way) for 200m to reach a small col on the crest of the spur.
6) 5c. Climb a section of 4c rock directly above the col and then belay on a small ledge before traversing left and climbing the wide crack and the corner (5c, crux) above. Move left after this to reach a steep snow slope.
7) Climb the snow slope rightwards to reach the crest of the spur and then follow 50 degree snow to reach the ridge which leads back to the Aiguille du Midi. © Rockfax
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